Confessions Of A Condo Owner is a new, recurring series where I discuss what it’s really like to own a condo. I’m new at homeownership, so I’m exposing my highest highs and lowest lows. Stay tuned.
I bought a condo last June. It was a scary, exhilarating, and transformative process. I am not exaggerating. It was that big of a deal to me. Not only did I buy my first place, but I bought my first place alone. This had a lot of emotional and practical implications, but the whole ordeal was definitely a major moment in my life.
Being a homeowner has been pretty great so far; I get an immense amount of joy every day when I get to walk through the door of a place that really feels like it’s mine. I think it really helps that I added a lot of personal touches to my condo, and that the neighborhood is essentially ideal. Whatever makes me so giddy about this place, I’m really happy with my home.
But the truth is that there’s something that really, really worries me about living where I do. Well, it’s something that’s always worried me about condo ownership in general. No, I’m not worried about something expensive breaking (well, I am worried about that, but that’s a story for another day). I’m not worried about not being able to pay my mortgage. I’m no worried about not being able to sell the place if I want to get out some day.
The main thing that I’m worried about as a condo owner is that my neighbors will move and I’ll end up getting stuck with a troupe of psychos.
In order to explain why this is so concerning, I have to sort of paint a picture: my little condo pod contains four units, all of which are pretty close together. I have one neighbor across the hall, and one neighbor directly below me. My neighbor across the hall has two neighbor (in one unit) below him. Here’s a rundown of all these characters:
- My neighbor across the hall is a little..different. He’s an older gentleman and possibly dealing with some cognitive issues. But he’s friendly and quiet and mostly keeps to himself, so there’s nothing to complain about.
- The woman living below me is a grandma who is out of town most of the time. In fact, she lives four months out of the year at the beach in South Carolina. When she is home, she’s quiet as a mouse. No worries there.
- The people living below my across-the-hall neighbor is couple about my age. They are involved in some type of theatre, as evidenced by the frequent show tunes I hear and costumes I see them in. Again, they are friendly, neighborly people. No cause for concern.
So those are my neighbors. All basically normal, non-crazy, non-loud, non-smoking, non-creepy people. Good, right?
Right. But these are my neighbors right now. There’s no guarantee they’ll be my neighbors forever. And this is where my fear starts to creep in.
See, when you live in a condo, your neighbors have a huge impact on your quality of life. The reason for this is probably obvious: when you live in a condo, you are living really, really close to your neighbors. A dud in the group can put a serious damper on your domestic situation. Knowing this, I did a lot of
stalking research about my future neighbors before moving in, and they all passed muster.
But what if these people that I so carefully screened move out? Sure, my new neighbors might be ok, but they might not. What then? If I get a serious stinker, I’m not sure what I’d do. Plus, really crazy neighbors usually don’t make any effort to hide their condition, so they could serve as a real turn-off to future buyers. What then?
I don’t really have an answer to that question. I suppose I’d have to just cope with the situation if it presented itself, but I really, really don’t want to have to. So for now I’m just crossing my fingers that none of my neighbors decide to move….after all, what else can I really do?
Have you ever had to deal with neighbor issues? Feed my fears, guys: tell me all about your neighbors from hell!